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“Movember” activities help raise prostate cancer funds, awareness

November 5, 2015 | Dagny Stuart

Beginning this week, Vanderbilt men will have a good excuse to ignore their razors and let their facial hair grow. November has been dubbed “Movember,” a time when men are encouraged to grow a moustache to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer.

One in seven men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and the disease is even more common among African Americans, with one in five expected to be diagnosed.

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) and the Department of Urologic Surgery are sponsoring the Movember activities, which include informal “best moustache” competitions. Both men and women are also encouraged to get moving and commit to regular physical exercise throughout the month.

“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, and excess body weight and a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to this form of cancer,” said David Penson, M.D., MPH, professor and chair of the Department of Urologic Surgery and director of the Center for Surgical Quality and Outcomes Research.

The prostate is a walnut-size gland located below the bladder in men. Growth of the gland is fueled by male hormones, including testosterone.

Approximately 220,000 men are expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2015 in the United States, with more than 27,000 deaths.

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, risk factors include body fat, especially fat around the middle of the body. Consumption of meat cooked at extremely high temperatures has also been linked to the development of prostate cancer in animal studies.

Prostate cancer is highly curable when found early and men are encouraged to talk with their physicians about their likelihood of developing the disease and the risks and benefits of screening tests.

Funds raised through VICC activities and the Movember Foundation are donated to men’s health issues including the Prostate Cancer Foundation, The LIVESTRONG Foundation and the Prevention Institute. In 2014, Movember raised $20.2 million in the United States for these charities. For more information or to join the VICC team, visit the Movember site